Jamaica has long enjoyed a rich musical heritage and a thriving culture, with genres such as Mento, Ska, Rock Steady, Dub and Dancehall originating.

Arguably, Bob Marley is considered to be the main pioneer of reggae music, responsible for putting Jamaican music and culture on the global map.

The success of the musical genre is such that in 2018, Reggae music was declared Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO.

Reggae month 2022 is set to be sensational and invigorating! Saluting the genre, the entire month of February is dedicated to Reggae beats, organized by the Jamaica Reggae Industry Association. 

In an initiative to celebrate Reggae Month 2022, music-lovers visiting the Expo, are in for a real treat at the Jamaica Pavilion as it celebrates its reggae month in February and the birthday of legendary Jamaican singer and musician Bob Marley. Visitors to the pavilion can embark on a music journey and enjoy the ‘riddim’ of the nation, experience a recording studio vibe at the mixer board while listening to the tunes of the bass guitar and the funky sounds of the computer drum machine, as well as remixed versions of reggae songs.

Guitars belonging to famous guitarist and composer Ernest Ranglin, as well as exhibits from the National Museum of Kingston, are displayed in one corner of the studio, and the wall of fame pays homage to other famous Jamaican musicians: Shabba Ranks, John Holt, Shaggy, Sean Paul, Ziggy Marley, Damian Marley, Daddy U-Roy, Beenie Man, Chaka Demus, and more. During the month, visitors can also enjoy multiple activities at the Jamaica Pavilion like karaoke on Bob Marley songs and various reggae songs.

Music is ingrained in the culture of the small Caribbean nation, with reggae the rhythm that moves Jamaicans, and the pavilion, located in the Mobility District, makes an audacious statement with its pulsating music, colourful exhibits and effervescent mural art. The Jamaican representation aptly capped its week of events at Expo 2020 Dubai on Saturday night with a reggae concert, which opened with Abijah, whose voice has stunning similarities to the late Reggae legend, Bob Marley.

Abijah said he was honoured to have flown in from Jamaica to perform and expressed appreciation for Dubai’s diversity. “Dubai is a place where you see people from all around the world. That’s how it should be,” he said before doing a cover of Bob Marley’s “Sun is Shining.” 

Sherieta Lewis, R&B star, shared the stage and belted out head-swaying tunes before singing Marley’s “High Tide or Low Tide (I’m gonna be your friend)”. Celebrated cornet player and singer Dwight Richards, who’s been touring with fellow Jamaican reggae icon Jimmy Cliff for the past 18 years, featured an original song titled, “Reggae Man”, which got the crowd dancing in the aisles. 

The greatest disappointment regarding this concert, was that it had to end, but alas the reggae party will continue, long after Reggae month has passed. 

By: Delroy Constantine-Simms and Maureen Drackett-Fuller